Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is formed through chains of amino acids that act as building blocks for the body. Collagen can be found in many parts of the body, such as the skin, our bones, tendons, and connective tissues. It is responsible for the strength and healthy function of each of these body parts.
When it comes to our skin, collagen improves elasticity, keeps skin plump, and helps it glow. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen levels start to deplete. Once we reach our 20's, we start to produce around 1% less collagen per year.
Collagen production is essential for the overall health of our bodies. Eating more foods that are rich in collagen and taking a collagen supplement can help to remedy some of these issues.
There are many types of collagen supplements, giving you plenty of options to choose from. These include collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, liquid collagen, collagen pills, and collagen powder.
Collagen is derived from animals, which means there are also different types of collagen, such as marine collagen, bovine collagen, porcine collagen, and chicken collagen. Read on to learn more about what could happen if you have a collagen deficiency, and what you can do to fix it.
Can you have a collagen deficiency?
Yes, you can have a collagen deficiency. Collagen is one of the most important proteins in our body, and it's essential for so many functions. If you're not eating enough protein and amino acid-rich foods, this can affect your production.
Similarly, if you eat an unhealthy diet, this can severely hinder your collagen production. Sugar is your biggest enemy if you're trying to increase your collagen production. If you're taking a supplement to boost collagen, sugar can prevent your body from utilizing the collagen.
There are also things out of our control, such as aging and collagen diseases, which cause collagen deficiencies. Your best bet is to start to increase the amount of collagen-rich foods in your diet, and start taking a collagen supplement. These things can help to prevent collagen depletion and repair damage.
There are plenty of foods that will improve your overall health and boost collagen. One thing you should incorporate into your diet is bone broth. Make this nutrient-dense broth by simmering animal bones in water with herbs. Bone broth is packed with collagen, amino acids, calcium, and magnesium. It’s mostly simple to make and the only time-consuming part is how long it takes to simmer. However, you can make huge batches and freeze what you don’t use.
Fish is also great for increasing collagen. It's packed with amino acids such as proline and glycine, it contains the necessary building blocks for collagen. Pretty much any fish will help with your collagen intake, but keep in mind the most collagen is in parts we don’t normally eat (such as the scales).
Foods that are high in vitamin C should be a must in your diet. For vitamin C, citrus fruits are key, with grapefruit being one of the best for your skin. Even fruit such as raspberries contain a large amount of vitamin C. If you want to watch your sugar, try eating bell peppers. They are just as high in vitamin C but with lower sugar content. This vitamin is essential for both improving collagen production and naturally giving you stronger, glowier skin.
Another important vitamin is vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, which is needed for a strong skin barrier and overall skin function. Other foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, carrots, and broccoli.
Try incorporating leafy greens and plenty of veggies. Kale and pretty much any green vegetables will give you a huge boost in helping with collagen production, as well as helping you achieve glowing skin due to all the antioxidants they contain.
Egg whites can help as well. While eggs themselves don’t support collagen production, egg whites do. They contain proline, which is an amino acid that is needed for collagen production.
For people who don't eat meat or animal products, try eating more beans. Not only are beans packed with protein and flavor, they also contain amino acids that are needed for synthesizing collagen.
What can a lack of collagen cause?
If you don't have enough collagen in your body, you will typically experience signs of aging. This can include wrinkling and sagging of the skin, muscle weakness, aching joints, weak bones, brittle hair and nails, and lackluster skin.
While these things are normal if you are aging, they are still uncomfortable to deal with.However, if you are younger and it's related to a poor diet, you can do things to help prevent issues from worsening.
Especially with skin-related issues, marine collagen is your best bet for improving and repairing damage. Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars contain 8 grams of hydrolyzed marine collagen, and 11-13 grams of clean protein. They also contain other beauty-boosting foods like sweet potato (which contain vitamin A), and cocoa butter (containing polyphenols and flavonoids). The formula is designed to help you absorb and retain collagen, a great way to support your collagen production naturally.
What are other health issues related to collagen?
There are some collagen diseases that are a bit more serious. Collagen vascular disease is a group of diseases that have to do with our connective tissues and immune system. Issues related to collagen vascular disease include Scleroderma, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Dermatomyositis, and others. These diseases can be inherited genetically from one's parents or can develop as autoimmune disorders. They can affect your skin, bones, joints, and blood vessels.
When it develops as an autoimmune disorder, it means your body's immune system accidentally attacks its own tissues that are healthy. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly why or how this happens.
Having collagen vascular disease means you have inflammation in your collagen and surrounding joints. Many of these diseases are actually more common in women than in men, but regardless it typically affects adults once they reach their 30's and 40's. It is rare for children to develop any of these diseases, but occasionally they can be diagnosed with Lupus.
Rheumatic diseases are similar to collagen vascular disease, and they can often overlap syndromes. There is no specific disease that defines connective tissue disorders, but rather a range with varying symptoms.
Sjogren's is a collagen vascular disease. It is an autoimmune disorder, similar to the ones we previously mentioned in this article. Again, this means your body attacks its own healthy tissues. Sjogren's disease has two main symptoms that help doctors diagnose it: dry eyes and dry mouth. Both of these symptoms are pretty severe, but their severity does vary from person to person. In many cases, Sjogren's is not the only disorder one might have; it typically accompanies other such diseases, especially Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It starts by affecting your mucous membranes and the moisture-secreting glands that are found in your eyes and mouth, resulting in dryness.
Other symptoms of collagen diseases that can occur include coughing, joint pain, skin rash, and fatigue. There are a few risk factors for developing Sjogren's. These include age, sex, and already having a rheumatic disease. Women over 40 are the most likely to develop Sjogren's, but anyone who already has a rheumatic disease or collagen vascular disease is also at risk.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.